Microsoft has been forced to make changes in the Windows Vista OS following pressure from the California attorney general.
Attorney general Edmund Brown said Microsoft has agreed to make “significant changes” in the design of its desktop search feature in the Windows Vista operating system.
Details of Microsoft’s agreement were outlined in a joint status report that was filed in a federal district court regarding the company’s compliance with the 2002 antitrust Final Judgment.
Brown said, “This agreement, while not perfect, is a positive step towards greater competition in the software industry. It will enhance the ability of consumers to select the desktop search tool of their choice.”
The California Attorney General’s Office became concerned with allegations that Microsoft was in violation of the Final Judgment after Google presented a complaint about the desktop search function in Vista, referred to as “Instant Search” in Microsoft’s promotional materials.
Google argued that desktop search in Windows Vista is a “Microsoft Middleware Product” (MMP) and is therefore subject to the Final Judgment.
The state contended that Vista’s desktop search feature is functionality that did not exist in prior Windows operating systems and is therefore covered under the Final Judgment.
Under the proposed solution, Microsoft will provide users and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), such as HP or Dell, with greater flexibility to choose and access competing desktop search products.
Microsoft has promised to deliver the required changes in a beta Service Pack 1 of Windows Vista, which Microsoft currently anticipates will be available by the end of the year.
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